This is, after all, a man who avoided the draft with the help of imaginary bone spurs who nonetheless felt confident in mocking John McCain’s endurance of torture in a Vietnamese prison camp. Never mind Trump’s adultery and the pride he takes in it, never mind his desire for a hippie-style “open marriage,” never mind the bearing of false witness, the coveting, etc. Trump explicitly rejects the fundamentals of Christianity, i.e. man’s fallen state and his need for reconciliation with God. When asked about that, Trump made it clear that he doesn’t believe he needs to be forgiven for anything, that he just needs to — in his words — “drink my little wine and have my little cracker.”Trump explicitly rejects the fundamentals of Christianity? Do we really know that? And shouldn't we then have to question what are the fundamentals of Christianity? Is it "man's fallen state"? Isn't it love one another? Want to have a big public debate about it? Would Jesus forgive you for not forgiving a political candidate who won't say he needs forgiveness? Forgive me if I laugh.
"Depiction of the sin of Adam and Eve" by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Pieter Paul Rubens.
So what do I really think? How much religion should be part of the political debate? Speaking of fundamentals, I can't get to the bottom of that. There's already so much religion and so little religion. There's no getting to nothing, and yet going all in is ridiculous. I'm inclined to think we should judge each candidate in proportion to how much he or she relies on religion. If someone forefronts sanctimony, we should examine whether it's a lie. But if a candidate takes a minimal position — claiming a faith but grounding himself in morality that can exist apart from religion (which is what Trump does) — there's nothing to delve into. If it's a lie, it's an insignificant social lie, like saying you love your wife when your feelings have in fact gone cold.
There are no visible atheists or even agnostics at the presidential level of American politics. Do you want to start outing them? Maybe Bernie Sanders. He might be an atheist. What do you think? Want to try to smoke him out? He said:
“I am not actively involved with organized religion... I think everyone believes in God in their own ways... To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”To my ear, that sounds like an effort to say: Even atheists believe in God... in our own way. A mystical attitude toward all of humanity counts as belief in God. I found that quote in this article by Frances Stead Sellers and John Wagner in The Washington Post. They say:
Sanders often presents his support for curbing Wall Street banks and ending economic inequality in values-laden terms. He recently described it as “immoral and wrong” that the highest earners in the country own the vast majority of the nation’s wealth....Do you feel a need to push any further? Are questions in order? Why? You shouldn't be saying: Because I oppose him politically and I think there are American voters who will vote against a candidate because his religion isn't good enough.
Their Jewish education was “unsophisticated,” [his brother] Larry Sanders said, grounded in a simple moral code of right and wrong. “He could read a prayer in Hebrew,” Larry Sanders said, “but not with a great deal of understanding.”... “He is quite substantially not religious.”